Did you know the first of may has been an important day throughout history. Curiously though, the reasons for its importance have changed several times over the years.
The Celts- the first pre-historic people to have appeared in Europe- celebrated their new year on May 1. They called it the feast of Beltine (after Belenos their sun-god). According to Celtic lore which has been recorded in "The Books Of Invasions", the Greek prince Partholon came to live with his people among the Celts on a first of May.
The Saxon king, Alfred the great was the first to introduce the 40-hour working week dividing a day into three parts of eight hours each (for work, sleep and leisure). He did this on a first of May.
On may 1, 1886, 3 1/2 lakh American workers demonstrated for a 40-hour week and won their demand.
On May 1, 1946, the first of May came to be declared international labour day.
In Maharshtra (India), May 1 is also celebrated as Maharashtra Day for the state came into being on this day in 1960.